09/12/2013 09:38 EDT | Updated 11/12/2013 05:12 EST

Anna Sui shifts her favourite fashion language to poetry

NEW YORK, N.Y. - In her quiet sort of way, designer Anna Sui has started a rebellion.

She said the spring looks at her show Wednesday at New York Fashion Week, inspired by the romantic English pre-Raphaelite painters, was her way of bringing a little beauty back to the catwalk — and the closet. "It's a reaction against the world right now," she said. "I want to bring back poetry to the way we dress."

She had in mind historical fiction muses such as Ophelia, Guinevere and Juliet. "Everything is flecked with antique gold, or shot with peacock shades of metallic thread ... an entire enchanted forest filled with sparrows and songbirds, blooming with poppies, water lilies, sunflowers ... embroideries and antique wallpaper patterns reproduced photographically in digital prints," she said in her notes.

The designer also infused a little bit of the 1960s, seemingly her favourite fashion era, to her new romantic vision. There were shifts and vests, tapestry bags, gladiator sandals and Balinese headdresses.

Sui always has a youthful style, but this time, she didn't go too young. The blousoned chiffon styles, lovely crochet lace sweaters and vests, and dresses with a touch of mesh, were a little more adult. "I guess I'm a little more grown-up now," she said.