‘Sweaty pits on the dance floor. The cloying mustiness of preloved clothing. Hair clippings on a barbershop floor….’ these are just some of the inspirations said to be behind ‘Road by Karangahape’ perfume.
The street, colloquially known by its shortened version, K Rd, has long been known for its varied businesses, eateries, colourful characters and edgy and diverse music scene and nightlife.
The unique release is a collaboration between fragrance brand OF BODY and the K Rd Business Association. In true form, its scent notes are unexpected. Those listed in promotional material include wet pavement, beer-infused leather, green heat, fog machine haze, coffee bean, incense burn, warm aromatic spice and pink peppercorn.
Housed in a weighty glass bottle, its cap is uniquely stamped with a ‘chunk of K Rd’, said to be from a concrete slab ‘carefully stolen from the ongoing Central Rail Link Karanga-a-Hape construction project.’
To get your hands on it you must head to the famous urban strip that crosses upper Queen Street in central Auckland. That’s because the perfume, limited to 150 bottles, will only be available at participating K Rd small businesses across the span of six weeks, with retailers updated on K Rd’s Instagram every morning.
The proceeds of each bottle, that retails for $100, will go to local housing support charity, Lifewise, which also runs not for profit cafe Merge on K Rd.
It wouldn’t be surprising if you wonder if the varied scents of a night on the strip could make an appealing perfume, but its creator, Nathan Taare Chief Scentsmith at OF BODY, says the street’s lows and highs make the perfect muse.
“All great perfumes contain ‘bad smells’ and ‘good smells’, and K Rd contains those things in droves,” says Taare. “What makes a perfume interesting is contrast, the pairing of potentially off-putting notes with the pleasant ones, and the finding that balance.
“This is a special occasion perfume, an ode to home, and familiar chaos,” Taare explains. “It’s a surprising, magnetic smell, that will compel deep nostalgia in anyone within the wearer’s radius.”
A promotional campaign was inspired by iconic perfume advertisements from around the world, with a typical K Rd twist.
Produced by Motion Sickness and shot by fashion editorial photographer Hōne Naera-Scott, each model is a member of the street’s thriving business community, from a local barista to the owner of a pharmacy on the strip.