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How ‘And Just Like That...’ brought back Carrie’s famous wedding dress: ‘We didn’t know if it existed’

Costume designer Danny Santiago walks us through the complicated process of bringing Carrie's dress back.
 Sarah Jessica Parker
Actress Sarah Jessica Parker on the set of "Sex and the City: The Movie" on location on the Upper East Side October 2, 2007 in New York.Marcel Thomas / FilmMagic

The Season Two premiere of "And Just Like That..." has many familiar faces — and one very familiar dress.

When her outfit for the Met Gala goes awry, Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) finds a garment in her closet that fits the event's "Veiled Beauty" theme.

For fans of "Sex and the City," the white strapless dress will be familiar: It's the Vivienne Westwood gown Carrie wore during her ill-fated wedding to Mr. Big (Chris Noth) in the first spinoff movie.

"It wasn't the best of times for Carrie. She got jilted at the altar," costume designer Danny Santiago, who worked with Molly Rogers on the show, recalls to TODAY.com.

The couple eventually married at the end of the movie, switching out the elaborate New York Public Library affair for a simple courthouse wedding. They stayed together until Big's death at the start of "And Just Like That..."

Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie Bradshaw takes out her wedding dress in the 'And Just Like That' season 2 premiere.Max

Behind-the-scenes set photos already teased the moment was coming. But seeing Carrie wear the gown in the context of the episode had particular poignance for her character arc and for the fandom, Santiago says.

"People fell in love with that dress. It made a big impact (on fans). Bringing it back changes the sentiment of what that dress meant. Carrie can repurpose it and replace it with the wonderful memory of wearing it to the Met Ball," he says. "It's flipping it, the whole idea of what it meant to her."

The Vivienne Westwood dress was first introduced as part of a Vogue wedding photoshoot in the "Sex and the City" movie. Then, Vivienne Westwood lends Carrie the dress to wear for her wedding.

Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker in wedding dress at Filming of Sex And The City. (Park Ave 81st St) (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)Richard Corkery / NY Daily News via Getty Images

Santiago says the silhouette of the dress aligned with the wedding Carrie thought she was going to have.

"It's very whimsical. It's got a storybook design — classic but romantic. I think that's what attracted Carrie to it originally: It was a fairy tale, fit with the occasion that she wanted her wedding to be," Santiago says.

She paired it with a green bird hat, which matches the green cape that she wears to the Met Ball in "And Just Like That..." When her original outfit is thwarted, Santiago says seeing the cape's color sparked the idea of the dress.

"She would have seen the cape and identified that as the same color as the bird. Maybe in her mind, that's how she put the two things together and come up with the idea of wearing the (wedding dress)," he says.

All Carrie has to do is go to her closet. Retrieving the actual Vivienne Westwood dress Parker wore in the movie was more of a challenge, Santiago says.

The dress was in series creator Michael Patrick King's script, so the show had to have it — but Santiago says they "didn't even know if it existed." Or, if it existed, what kind of condition it was in.

After the movie was filmed, the dress was sent back to Vivienne Westwood, where it was stored in the archives in England along with other custom creations.

"We even thought we'd have to have them remake one. What is the status of it? We didn't know if it needed repair," he says.

The designer hadn't looked at the garment in the years it had been in the archives. "We weren't sure what we were getting. It might not have been stored properly. Sometimes fabric changes color over time. We didn't know what to expect," he says.

Given all the uncertainties, the fitting was somewhat nail-biting — but ultimately successful, as evidenced by the episode.

"Sarah Jessica Parker hadn't seen it in so many years. She was probably wondering if it was still going to fit. She tried it on. We were all looking at it, staring at it in the mirror. And it looked beautiful. It looked great on her," Santiago says.