By  on February 9, 2009

Once the preferred footwear of Civil War soldiers and prairie land owners, Frye shoes—founded in 1863 by British cobbler John A. Frye—more likely are spotted on urban asphalt these days than rolling hills. Chalk that up to the fashion flock’s renewed interest in vintage chic, and also to the company’s design director, Michael Petry, who came aboard in 2007 after stints at Prada and Polo Ralph Lauren.

“We’re giving it a luxury feel, but keeping the line denim-friendly,” Petry explains.

For spring, Petry retains the bench-crafted finishing—detailed stitching; polished, stacked boot heels—while expanding the collection to include more feminine pieces, including T-strap sandals and peep-toe pumps, in colors ranging from lemon to sky blue to lilac, with Frye’s signature tan and deep brown still very much a part of the line. As Petry says, “These are handcrafted, hand-stained shoes, but they’re modern, too.”

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