The excellence of this cover is ... self-evident. It's the best cover-up since Watergate. All right, here's some more objective analysis: First, celebrity covers with beautiful women on them are hard because they are so easy. In other words, how do you do something that sets it apart from all the other beautiful ones? Esquire succeeds here by skillfully integrating the subject, Angelina Jolie, with the background. The magazine does this every month with varying degrees of success by having the cover lines fill the entire background. The fabric artfully draped over her is the same color as the background, allowing the color of her skin to emerge in a sculptural way from the typographic field. Covering up her name would usually be considered magazine blasphemy, but it's no problem here if you don't know who she is, you're not in their target audience anyway. All that said, the real reason this cover is effective is that it is equal parts sexy, demure and classical, and I bet it sold some copies for them.