IT shouldn't be easy to warm to Victoria Beckham. For one thing she's so damn thin. Not just naturally slender and health conscious -- but a honed, carb-hating kind of skinny which reads to other women as both competitive and joyless.
Added to which, there's the endlessly observed fact that she never smiles. Sour-faced skinny minnies aren't easy to like.
And yet we can't help but love VB, whose arrival into Dublin last week prompted an outpouring of unrestrained adoration. Her appearance at Brown Thomas did for fashion-loving women what Bruce Springsteen's visits to the RDS do for 40-something men. Hero-worship, ownership, and profound respect were all there, the pillars of fandom of the purest kind.
She might still do the pout, but the lady herself seems to have loosened up a little bit.
But then, she can afford to. Beckham has been oozing a sanguine generosity of spirit of late, now that she's proved all of her many, many detractors wrong.
She was once, you might remember, the Spice Girls' weakest link. The one whose singing and dancing were severely challenged, and who didn't have much to say.
When the band broke up her solo career was a humiliating flop. She then spent a few years perfecting the role of footballer's wife. In those days she was still hugely famous, of course, but best known for her stringy hair extensions and the ill-advised plastic orbs sticking out from her chest. Her name was a byword for tastelessness. That she was still best known as Posh Spice at that point seemed something of an unfortunate irony.
But it's clear now that Victoria is not one to be deterred by failure. It's quite remarkable how far she's come.
These days she's a picture of elegance and the head of a hugely profitable fashion house (last year's figures declared takings of £50m (€64m)) that is beloved of all the most discerning fashionista's in Hollywood.
When the Beckhams made their much publicised move to LA with the aim of conquering America, it was assumed that David was the talent, and Victoria the background support. But that didn't go to plan. In 2007, an LA insider described them as "the biggest disappointment in Hollywood". Five years later the couple have achieved the success and acceptance they were pitching for back then. But it's apparent that it was Victoria alone who has parlayed the couple into an international brand.
No observer, male or female, could witness this impressive feat and not concede credit where credit is due. Just a few years ago Victoria was regularly derided as representing the apotheosis of pointless celebrity.
Now, she's the darling of the fashion industry and hugely respected for her skills as both a business woman and a designer.
Her particular genius is for turning sheer ambition into talent. She wasn't always the best dresser. She didn't have good taste naturally, she learnt it. She's a careful study and has an iron will.
That is the point, it seems, of that rake-thin figure -- all the better to show of the clothes, of course, but also plainly advertising for the discipline that she brings to her career.
Things have gone wrong for her plenty of times. But Victoria is never afraid to front up to the photographers and brazen it out.
When her husband cheated she went on the offensive. It didn't matter that the paparazzi shoot she stage managed in the aftermath of his affair, taken on a family ski holiday in the alps, seemed fake. She was fully in control of the situation. He might have messed up, but he was still dancing to her tune.
This show of courage became an important part of her professional development. Through all the ups and downs and photo ops, Victoria's image became her armour. She laid the grounding for her label by showing women that she had a rare understanding of how to communicate a strong and clear message with her clothes.
The late Paul Arden, advertising guru and oracle of consumer culture recognised VB's instinctive understanding of marketing and used to quote her in his teaching. When just a teenager, he recounted the young VB announced that she "wanted to be as famous as Persil Automatic". Even then, she wasn't thinking about herself as a talent or an artist, but as a brand.
It's been a long time in development sure, but 20-odd years later, the Victoria Beckham brand knocks Persil out of the park.