One of her comics recalls the time she went for tea with an aunt who, upon discovering someone making off with her handbag, “kicked off her high heels” and ran to apprehend the thief herself. In Shi’s comic, fury has twisted the aunt’s eyes into spirals. Her feet, splayed out mid-run, are clad only in socks, her shucked-off shoes flying into neighbouring panels. But what really captures the eye is the aunt’s marvellous coat, both striped and floral-printed, its black edges jagged in her frenzied rage. Shi developed this image into the first look of her collection, a lushly-textured trompe l’oeil trench coat.
In another vignette, Shi herself gets to play the role of thief. The story begins with an early memory of a primary school teacher seizing her two favourite toys, which she wasn’t allowed to have brought to class. She never got them back. But in this version of the story, she takes matters into her own hands, breaking into school on a rescue mission to retrieve them dressed up as a robber: “I wear an old sweater as a mask, put on a crayon bullet belt, and bring a carrot bomb.” It’s a symbolic get-up – crayons represent the power of drawing, and she despises carrots. Beneath the ammunition, the robber wears a plaid dress, inspiring a dress in the collection made of ribbon-like black and white strips of fabric sewn in grid formation on sheer tulle. Accessorized, obviously, with a black beaded harness which can hold crayons like artillery shells.