'The Notebook' Costume Designer Says She Was 'Honored' By Kobe Bryant's Sweet Gift for Wife Vanessa
By Liz Calvario
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The Notebook costume designer, Karyn Wagner, is "honored" that her work brought joy to Vanessa Bryant.
On Monday, during "A Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant," the wife of the late Kobe Bryant shared why her husband gifted her the dress and shoes worn by Rachel McAdams in Nick Cassavetes' 2004 film. Following the sweet story, Wagner took to social media to send Vanessa and her family a sweet message.
"@vanessabryant my whole heart goes out to you for your loss," Wagner wrote alongside a repost of Vanessa's 2013 Instagram post showing off the gift. "I am so honored that my art has given you joy. May you heal in kindness and support from your friends and family surrounded warmth and blessings."
During the memorial, held in Los Angeles' Staples Center on Monday, Vanessa shared the meaning behind the present her husband -- who died alongside their daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 -- gave her.
"When I asked him why he chose the blue dress, he said it was because it’s the scene when Allie comes back to Noah," she explained. "We had hoped to grow old together like in the movie. We really had an amazing love story. We loved each other with our whole beings. Two perfectly imperfect people making a beautiful family and raising our sweet and amazing girls."
Wagner also told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published later that day, "I started bawling. I’m still drying the tears off my face. What a beautiful eulogy. I’m so honored that I was able to contribute in some small way to the history of this amazing man."
She then explained that after reading the book, and beginning her work on The Notebook, she knew that scene required a very special outfit.
"I knew it was going to be one of the tentpoles, if you will, of the film. I spent some time drawing what I thought both reflected the era and reflected who [Allie] is supposed to become and the woman she wants to be, which were in direct conflict," Wagner explained. "We wanted to communicate with [the] audience why she woke up that morning and picked out that blue dress. She wants to say something to him. The color of that dress is about hope."
"It’s not a very ornate dress. It’s got just enough detail to make it interesting. … it’s a classic dress but it says a lot about her and her hopes for this day," she noted.
In Monday’s speech, Vanessa reiterated how her husband was incredibly romantic -- hand-crafting gifts, thinking “outside the box” and planning special anniversary trips. He gave her a gift for every year of their marriage.
Vanessa also spoke about her late daughter, Gigi, and cried over the fact that Kobe wouldn't be able to walk his daughters down the aisle on their own wedding days.
See more of her emotional speech in the video below.