BUCK STOPS AT FRENCH VOGUE: It’s confirmed. French Vogue, which has long been a troubled magazine, is undergoing some major editorial changes. Joan Juliet Buck has been named editor, effective June 1. She succeeds Colombe Pringle, who is leaving the magazine. At the same time, Jean Poniatowski, French Vogue’s publishing director, will relinquish his post and become vice president of Conde Nast International.

Buck will assume complete responsibility for Vogue’s editorial content and editorial management. She’ll report to Gerald Asaria, managing director of Conde Nast in France.

Most recently Buck was a contributing editor of American Vogue, British Vogue, Vanity Fair and Conde Nast Traveler. She also critiqued films for American Vogue.

In other Vogue news, Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, fashion director of American Vogue, will become fashion editor-at-large. “This will enable her to accept other creative projects in a freelance capacity that have been offered to her over the years,” said a Vogue spokesman. She’ll continue to do Vogue’s fashion sittings.

TORCH IS PASSED: Joseph Lelyveld, 57, managing editor of the New York Times, will succeed Max Frankel as executive editor, effective July 1. Frankel, 64, who served in the post eight years, will become a columnist for the Times Magazine, writing about communication and the media, beginning this fall.

Eugene L. Roberts Jr., 61, former executive editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who was previously national editor of the Times, will rejoin the newspaper as managing editor. Roberts, since 1991 a professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Journalism, will go on leave from that post late this summer to work at the Times for the next three years.

The fact that Roberts plans to serve only three years raises the question of who will succeed him. It’s a key question, since the managing editor post at the Times has been the prelude to the executive editor slot.

CARTER CHANGES POST: After a little more than a year, Betsy Carter, executive editor of Harper’s Bazaar, is leaving the magazine. She’ll move to Hearst’s magazine development group. While she’ll consult on a number of Hearst titles,

her specific responsibilities will be announced at a later date, said a Hearst spokeswoman. Carter couldn’t be reached for comment, and her successor hasn’t been named.

ON AIR: For the past three weeks, Banana Republic has been testing its first TV commercials in the Chicago market. The 30-second spots, filmed and directed by Peter Arnell, are similar to the new print campaign. Both highlight products such as chinos, denim jeans and the white shirt and feature copy lines such as: “Go out and have a lifetime,” and “If you can’t conceive of falling in love in an outfit, don’t wear it.”

Whether the spots go national, Arnell said, depends on how they test. He said they’ve gotten “very good” reaction from Chicago customers.

Arnell, incidentally, has been seen around New York with cinematographer Jean-Paul Goude, collaborating on Chanel’s next TV and print campaign.

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