- The Washington Times - Friday, August 26, 2005

Le rentree, French for “return,” fittingly de- scribes the approaching fall season.For many, life begins anew. Youngsters return to school. The fall slate of new film releases is imminent. And weighty fashion magazines are abundant, each stuffed with pages of trendy styles for those seeking a new fall look.

Vogue rivals the phone book in size with its 800-plus pages (actually down from the 832 it featured in last year’s fall issue). Nevertheless, fewer pages here may be a boon for Men’s Vogue. Although officially classified as a “test product,” the new Conde Nast magazine has, to date, booked 164 pages of advertising. It arrives on newsstands Sept. 6, so we’ll tell you about it next month.

Other magazines chock-full of fall fashions:

• InStyle, Time Warner’s monthly publication for fashionistas, offers 592 pages and boasts on its cover of featuring “134 New Fall Looks … and How to Wear Them. Plus Shoes!”

• Harper’s Bazaar squeezes “983 New Looks” into its 480 pages, according to the bright red headline on its cover. Demi Moore looks fetching in the photo spread inside, which makes you wonder why Harper’s editors chose to picture her in a garment that resembles a swath of ostrich feathers — instead of haute couture — on its cover. This is, after all, a huge fashion edition.

Elsewhere, acclaimed art photographer Alison Jackson, known for her double-take images of celebrity look-alikes, pays homage to the Duchess of Cornwall (better known as Camilla Parker Bowles) in an “imagined portrait” with model Wendy Ellis appearing as the wife of the man who will be king. She does resemble Prince Charles’ wife, but the photos are most unkind. The real Camilla isn’t quite so frumpy.

• Elle offers 540 pages of “Great Style” with Jennifer Lopez gracing its cover. The fall look flaunted inside includes small, snug jackets worn with huge leather belts. Also, says the magazine, black is back. (Note to Elle: Did it ever go away?)

• Finally, beauty truly is Skin Deep, as in the title of a glossy new international quarterly devoted to image enhancement and all things cosmetic — with heavy emphasis on plastic surgery. What makes Skin Deep special is that all the articles reportedly are written exclusively by experts in their respective fields — a claim that suggests each story is the work of board-certified plastic surgeons; board-certified medical and surgical specialists with health, nutrition, hair and beauty, all volunteering their expertise. Suzanne Sommers is featured on the cover and gives an exclusive interview within the new magazine’s 143 pages.

• • •

Moving to other seasonal goodies, Entertainment Weeklyis taking stock of the summer movie season with a look at those it deems its most valuable players. Actor Terrence Howard gets the cover and EW’s endorsement as the summer’s No. 1 star for his roles in the critically acclaimed film “Hustle & Flow,” and the independent breakout hit “Crash.”

Rounding out the magazine’s Top 10 list of “major-league movie stars who’ve proved outstanding in their field” are Matt Dillon (No. 2), Cillian Murphy (No. 3), Angelina Jolie (No. 4), Amy Adams (No. 5), Vince Vaughn (No. 6), Dakota Fanning (No. 7), Miranda July (No. 8), Ian McDiarmid (No. 9) and Paul Giamatti (No. 10).

• • •

If you’re yearning for some real meaty content in the coming month, consider that truly admirable quarterly City Journal. Its latest issue has at least half a dozen notable reads. First and foremost, perhaps, is “Harvard’s Diversity Grovel” by Heather Mac Donald — which takes Lawrence H. Summer, the university’s president, to task not only for his injudicious comments about gender differences among leaders in math and science, but also for the university’s pledge of $50 million for its faculty diversity efforts.

Miss Mac Donald does not pull punches. “For connoisseurs of the diversity claptrap, Harvard’s just-released ‘Report of the Task Force on Women Faculty’ is a thing of beauty, a peerless example of the destruction of higher learning by identity politics,” she writes.

She winds up with a real whammy: “The aristocratic ease with which Harvard has just dumped $50 million down a bureaucratic sinkhole tells you all you need to know about why attending Harvard for eight months costs more than most families earn in a year. Eventually, students and parents may start asking why anyone would want to.”

Meanwhile, the edition’s lead story, “The Black Family: 40 Years of Lies” by Kay S. Hymowitz, points out all too cogently that rejecting the Moynihan report of 1965 — officially titled “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action” — was responsible for untold needless misery.

After noting that almost 70 percent of black children are born to single mothers, Miss Hymowitz asks why it is that the New York Times, like many who rail against inequality, falls silent on the relationship between poverty and single-parent families?

She produces answers that are fairly damning. It’s a powerful piece in which she laments that it has taken “40 years of inner-city misery for the country to reach a point at which it fully signed on to the lesson of Moynihan’s report.”

• • •

National Geographic is bringing out a special issue on Africa. Breaking with a decades-long tradition, it has no cover photograph — just the word Africa, followed by the statement, “Whatever you thought, think again.” Very impressive, indeed.

Consider reading it in conjunction with “Born Into Bondage,” an article in the September edition of Smithsonian magazine. The story, by Paul Raffaele, (who also took the stunning photographs), says slavery remains a way of life in the west African nation of Niger despite repeated denials by government officials.

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