“Are you guys gonna get on the bull?” said Lil Nas X, striding into L.A.’s Saddle Ranch Chop House where Western-dressed denizens gathered for a haute hoedown Thursday night.
The occasion was the launch of the Tom Ford Ombré Leather Parfum, and while Ford was not in attendance, his spirit was all in the details — cowboy-cute waiters serving Casamigos tequila shots in boot-shaped shot glasses; the IMG-represented professional bull rider Jesse Byrne helping guests mount the bar’s resident mechanical bull, and the naughty party-favor T-shirts that read, “I Got Bucked by TF.”
The dress code was Western wear, and guests really brought it, from do-it-yourself bedazzled cowboy hats to a fabulous black-and-white sequined cow-print gown.
Even Sydney Sweeney got in on the act, hiking up her minidress and grabbing a blanket for her lap. She lasted a good three minutes and didn’t fall — or lose her hat — in front of dozens of phones lit up shooting video. “It didn’t go so crazy,” she said of her ride, admitting it might not have gone full throttle.
The bash was a celebration for Ford’s popular unisex fragrance, inspired by the American West, being introduced earlier this year in parfum form.
“Tom was looking for something authentic — he was born in Austin, Tex., and lived in New Mexico,” said Guillaume Jesel, global president of Tom Ford Beauty. “This was the first place that came to mind, there was no question. It was, when is Saddle Ranch available?”
Ombré Leather (“the tactile sensuality of rich black leather, textured with addictive patchouli and vetiver”) launched in 2016 on the runway and was intended to be short-lived. But consumer demand swelled, so the fragrance was relaunched with a Steven Klein shoot on Ford’s Santa Fe ranch. “The idea was how do we bring this to life. Tom had seen Lil Nas X in ‘Old Town Road’ and he came to our show in February 2020 in L.A. Tom thought he’d be great, and we’re going to be using his music for a commercial,” said Jesel. “Tom is a provocateur and to see a young gay rapper come out so bravely and authentically was something that appealed to him on a human level.”
Most everyone admitted to having been to the kitschy Sunset Boulevard spot tricked out like a real Western bar, complete with bales of hay, a campfire pit, and hand-painted cow poke signs (“no cussing, no gougin'”), at some time or another in the last two decades.
“Whenever you have friends who come to town with 10- or 11-year-olds, this is where you take them, that’s what I’ve learned,” said former TV fashion cop George Kotsiopoulos, who just bought a watering hole of his own on Santa Monica Boulevard, called Or Bar, slated to open next year. “No bull, no TVs, no nonsense, it’s going to be very lounge-y. I want people to come and talk and hang out,” he said.
People were certainly ready to par-tay at the Saddle Ranch, where the screens above the bar lit up with the evening’s riders in all their glory. It was a bucking good time.