Kathryn Laudadio always loved fashion, but her battle with anorexia made it complicated.
“She loved to bring attention to a part of her body that wasn’t related to her weight,” said her sister, Elizabeth Laudadio, whose family lost Kathryn in September 2013 at age 22. “It was one of the things she loved about shoes, because shoe size was something she couldn’t change.”
In her brief life, Kathryn, who lived in Fairfield, Conn., and also strug-gled with bipolar disorder, amassed more than 200 pairs of shoes (size 7½) ranging from studded black boots to red lace-up platforms.
“Some of the heights were 4 to 6 inches. They’re pretty crazy,” said Elizabeth.
On Monday, the Boston-based charity website Fashion Project (www.fashionproject.com) will put 204 pairs of Kathryn’s shoes up for sale to benefit Project Heal, a nonprofit that raises money for those suffering with eating disorders who can’t afford treatment. There are many pairs of Jeffrey Campbells, and each is in near pristine condition with the original dust bag and box.
Elizabeth, a PhD student in chemistry, describes the sale as bittersweet.
“She was always buying and selling,” she said of her sister. “If you consider she’s buying one every time she felt badly, there’s some intensity to that.”
The Laudadios hope to raise $10,000 to establish a Project Heal scholarship in Kathryn’s name. “Throughout her struggles, Kathryn was always always hopeful and looking toward the future,” she said. “She would want her legacy to be part of raising awareness and treatment. She would have shopped and wanted to donate herself.”
Elizabeth, who wears a size 5 and described her own footwear preferences as more conservative, said she still kept a few pairs of Kathryn’s shoes — oxfords, flats — for herself.
“If I wear thick socks, I will be able to pull them off,” she said.Jill Radsken can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.