A young working-class man who sells shirts at a Sydney department store, Paul Lawrence, dreams of going to art school. When his girlfriend Cara leaves for London, Paul becomes the protégé of renowned designer Marie Rosefield. Marie belongs to ‘the set’, an upper-class clique whose members include Mark Bronoski, an influential artist. Bronoski commissions Paul to design a set for flamboyant British stage director John L Fredericks. Helping Paul is Tony Brown (Rod Mullinar), a handsome student who is dating Paul’s cousin, Kim Sylvester. As Paul becomes part of ‘the set’, he begins a homosexual relationship with Tony. Meanwhile, Kim’s mother, Peggy (Hazel Phillips), is bored with her marriage and has an affair with Bronoski. As the deadline for the set approaches, Paul starts to question his values and those of his new friends.