What can we say about a girl that appears to be both prim and improper, naughty yet nice, vulnerable but invincible? Such an ethereal enigma—a literal interpretation of the term “mystery woman”—can be found in The Ashton-Drake Galleries’ creation, “De­lilah Noir.” The vinyl ball-jointed doll is more than just another way for grown-up guys and gals to indulge their playfulness and desire to experiment with costuming, wigging and accessorizing. She is a true tribute to the renegade who resides in all of us.

Her backstory is the age-old tale of good girl by daylight/daring girl by moonlight. Born into a privileged home life, attending a respectable prep school, she is the ideal honor student: seemingly restrained and living by the book. However, when the sun sets, she discards her tartan skirt and buttoned-up blazer for corsets and steampunk fashion styles. The straitlaced bookworm morphs into a social butterfly, decked out in laced-up boots, daring hemlines and intricate headwear.
The Ashton-Drake Delilah Noir design team tackled a series of questions from DOLLS. They try to provide some clues about this versatile fashion doll that prove that blondes don’t have all the fun. Remember, when Delilah slips off her uniform, she sheds her flaxen locks for a raven-black coiffure. Being a little bit “bad” has never looked so good!
Without further ado, here are 16 not-so-sweet questions about the ravishing Delilah Noir.

Is Delilah Noir supernatural? She comes alive at night. Is there a sort of Twilight/Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme occurring here?
Delilah Noir is not supernatural but has different sides to her that she doesn’t share with just anyone. By day she is many things: outstanding student, talented cheerleader and generous friend. Parents, friends and teachers love her. But by night, she is whoever she wants to be. And, I might add, she has one heck of an imagination. …

Is Delilah’s story going to be fleshed out more? Will descriptions of her nocturnal activities be shared with her collectors? Or, is it deliberately nebulous?

Delilah represents the multiplicity of characters in all of us. Combined with her sumptuous, creative and eclectic fashion tastes, each new release will add to Delilah’s story, but she can never be summed up in a single look, persona or adventure.

How was her look/appearance decided upon? Was there a certain well-known character or personality the design team was going after when making the doll?

Delilah is, in fact, based on a very real and very fascinating young woman. Unfortunately, just like Delilah, in anonymity she finds freedom, and sharing her identity would compromise that freedom.

Will some of her other soulmates be released in the line?

They most certainly will. Look for De­lilah’s sweet school friend and wild evening friend in early 2010.

What is your target demographic for Delilah Noir? Who do you hope to appeal to with this new release?
While most editions of Delilah are sold fully clothed and painted, we hope Delilah’s versatility will appeal to “customizers” who enjoy creating their own outfits or face-ups. We encourage these creative folks who have made Delilah their own to share their work at www.DelilahNoir.com/ArtHouse.

How can she be bought? Where is she found? In stores? Or just on the Internet?
Delilah Noir products, information and owner-customized creations are all available via her ever growing Web site—www.DelilahNoir.com, as well as through doll retailers worldwide.

Which artist sculpted her? Will that be made known? (Mel Odom was such a recognizable/essential part of the “Gene” phenomenon.) Is Delilah Noir’s creator going to be made public? Or, is it a secret?
We asked the artist and she, he or it told us it would remain a secret for now.

Are we supposed to think Delilah Noir is her “real” name? Or is it her nighttime assumed name?
Fate blessed Delilah Noir with an uncannily appropriate name, and she wouldn’t change it for the world.
Where does Delilah “live”? Is that up to the collector’s imagination?

All we can tell you is that she spends her school days in a picturesque suburban town, near a major American city.

Will the ferret be released soon to accompany his mistress?

Not soon enough! Look for Delilah’s pet ferret, “Cross Hairs,” early next year.

Are we supposed to imagine the ferret has magical powers? Is there a supernatural/gothic element to the tale?
Delilah Noir loves gothic fashion, and sometimes poor Cross Hairs must endure a bit of dressing up. While her life includes many secrets, not the least of which is the dark and beautiful nature of her nighttime persona, she does not claim to have any supernatural powers, for now. …

How long did it take to create Delilah? How long was she on the drawing board? (In other words, was it a one-year journey from abstract concept to reality, or was it two years, etc.?)
Delilah was on the drawing board for a year and a half before she made her debut. That’s a long time for a doll, but then again, she’s a complicated girl.

If she doesn’t have a supernatural/magical connection to the night, do you fear there might be a misinterpretation of something more criminal/more dangerous?
By her very nature, Delilah Noir is meant to be open for interpretation. She represents the wild and creative side in all of us that is stifled by daily routine and regulation. That being said, she is no criminal. Her indulgences are sumptuous clothing and bold friends who don’t conform to the rigid structures of daily prep school life.

Will collectors find out that her private school is akin to a Harry Potter alchemy academy? Is that a logical guess?
Maybe … but with less accents!

What can collectors expect to have released to them throughout the rest of 2009 and perhaps into 2010?
Delilah Noir was definitely busy with needle and thread in 2009. By the end of the year, we will have released six or seven different Delilahs, including two limited editions. Early 2010 will see the introduction of Delilah’s two best friends. It might, just might, also see an extremely limited-edition Delilah co-release with a highly respected Asian ball-jointed doll brand.

Anything you can add to clarify who the real Delilah Noir is, what she does at night, who her friends are and why she loves the dark? Or, is it all up to us, the excited, mesmerized collectors?
Delilah isn’t a good girl who is secretly bad or a bad girl who is secretly good. She loves her sweet friends from school, as well as her beautiful, brooding evening companions. Wearing pink isn’t fraud, but wearing a black gown isn’t, either. Delilah Noir is many different things, at many different times, but she is always true to herself.

Steamy Seamstress
red-velvet-delilah-noir-37“Delilah Noir” is handy with a needle and thread, concocting outfits that are intricate and enticing. Her style of clothing can certainly be termed “goth,” but it’s more than that. Delilah’s distinctive togs are part of what’s called “steampunk.”
Steampunk’s true definition is a matter of debate. It is reminiscent of the trappings that were found in Victorian and Edwardian wardrobes, but it has its own modern-day twist to the antique appearances. Though it favors top hats, corsets, thigh-high boots, walking sticks and parasols—all items that Eliza Doolittle or Lady Chatterley might have been comfortable donning—steampunk also incorporates an edgy, industrial, sci-fi feel to it.
Outfits of this milieu might combine gas masks, bondage equipment, outlandish hairpieces and netted veils. It’s a mating of an industrial-techno mindset with backward-glancing sense and sensibility. Picture Jane Austen sitting down for tea with H. G. Wells and together mastering a time machine that journeys through the annals of fashion history. That’s steampunk: It seems dated and staid, but it’s very, very contemporary and  “out there.” Aside from its single aesthetic rule—to be anachronistic and daring—there are no other rules to follow. It’s perfect for a born rule breaker like Delilah Noir.