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.”

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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 favorite 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.