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Photograph: Alexandra Strada

Public eye: Kim Vernon

New York street interviews: Stories from the sidewalk as told by real New Yorkers about their lives in the city that never sleeps.

By Kate Lowenstein

Morton St and Seventh Ave

How old are you? I'm never going to tell you that.

Okay. Let's talk about how you're kind of a big deal. Oh, no no. I'm not. Did you see that I was quoted in the Style section today? It was that piece about Tulum becoming a fashion mecca.

See? You're a big deal. I could tell by the coat. Everyone stops me about this coat. I'm really proud that it's fake fur. People in the elevator stand there trying to figure out what kind of animal has spots like that, but no animal has spots like that. It's 100 percent acrylic.

What do you do? I run a consulting firm called Vernon Company. I was at Calvin Klein for half of my career, doing marketing, branding, licensing; when I left I was executive vice president. I worked there in the early '90s, then Prada recruited me. Then Calvin tried to get me back, and I went back.

Did you have anything to do with giving us Marky Mark in his underwear? Of course. That was my first year there. He'd walk through the office speaking his hip-hop slang. Now he won't talk about it.

Because he's too busy preaching against masturbation? Why wouldn't he? He's married to Rhea Durham. [Laughs] Talking about Mark Wahlberg is boring. It was an amazing campaign that wasn't my idea. My role was putting those ads on the sides of buses. We were the first in fashion to do that.

A lot of teenage girls were really grateful to you for that. Yeah, we changed the face of outdoor ads. Then everyone started doing it.

What do you do when you're not masterminding ad campaigns? I'm very interested in culture—I go to the theater a lot, and I love the food scene in New York. Jean Georges is one of my absolute favorites, and you'll also find me at Indochine, Waverly, Minetta...I love my West Village spots. Oh, and I'm at the Standard all the time, too.

Are you a shoes-in-the-oven type? What do you mean, shoes in the oven?

You know, you store your shoes there because you never cook at home? Not at all. I do cook. And I have two huge closets. [Laughs]

More from Kim

"I just saw an amazing play called Stick Fly. It's the playwright's first major play and it is so well written."

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