December 14, 1987 12:00 PM

TART-TONGUED: When Suzy Menkes, fashion editor of London’s Independent newspaper, said on British television that Princess Diana looks like a tart when she wears black-leather skirts with lacy stockings, other members of the press and British designers didn’t hem or haw. Victor Edelstein, who designs evening gowns for Di, swore, “I have never seen her dress like a tart.” Designer Lindka Cierach chimed in with, “She has done more for British fashion than anybody else in recent years,” and added that leather is a classic. Daily Mirror woman’s editor Christena Appleyard said a leather skirt might look tarty if “you wait until you’re in your mid-40s, your bottom’s heading for your ankles and your knees are having a mid-life crisis. Then, because you are a fashion expert, you squeeze yourself into it and tell yourself you look good.” She said she had seen Di’s detractor, Suzy Menkes, in just such a getup looking just that way.

DOUBLE FEATURE: When American Airlines cranked up Roxanne on a recent flight from L.A. to New York, at least one first-class passenger seemed not to care. Steve Martin—the film’s star and screenwriter—wearing what another passenger describes as “a very goofy black hat,” declined earphones and spent most of the flight reading scripts and working on his laptop computer. “He never lifted his eyes to look at the screen,” reports the fellow flier. “He had a complete lack of interest.” Finally, unable to resist, the man leaned over and asked Martin if he didn’t want to watch. “Nah,” said Steve, “I’ve seen it before.”

LOVE ALL: If John McEnroe is right about this, he and Tatum O’Neal, 24, could end up with quite a brood. “I have kids like I play tennis,” says fast Mac, 28, whose son Sean, 2 months, was born only 16 months after his brother, Kevin. “I feel sorry for my wife, though, because it’s very hard on her body to be having kids one after another so quickly.” Ah, but what lasting trophies.

SCREAM PLAY: Dennis Quaid, riding high this year with Innerspace, The Big Easyand Suspect, surely could have skipped his latest hit. The actor fractured his collarbone last month in Baton Rouge, La., when he was slammed by Tim Fox, a former New England Patriot. The two were filming Everybody’s All-American, in which Quaid plays a college football hero. “I’m really going to get hit,” Quaid nervously told onlooker Gene Siskel, the movie critic, moments before doing the scene. When he was injured, Quaid blacked out and lay on the sidelines for 90 seconds, then managed to stand up and, alluding to stuntmen’s extra hazard pay, joked, “I want bump money.” The “bump” came a day before the movie crew went on hiatus until January; Quaid was excused early. Or, as he put it, “I’ve been benched.” Just for halftime though.

APART OF THE PLAN: Countering the rumors that their three-year marriage isn’t working, Pretenders lead singer Chrissie Hynde explained why she doesn’t live with her husband, Simple Minds’ Jim Kerr, father of one of her two children. “This is the way it is,” she told London’s Daily Mail. “Jim lives in Scotland for the week and comes down to London to see the kids at weekends. He likes it that way and so do I. He doesn’t want me ranting in his ear all week, and I don’t want somebody around me all the time.” Hynde also doesn’t apologize for the rock life. “I’m a singer, I’m overpaid and I enjoy it,” she said. “End of story. Want to see a picture of my kids?”

DAZE TRIPPER: Well, no one would want a straight answer from gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, the author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. While giving a lecture at Smith College, the model for Doonesbury’s Duke character was asked if he misses the ’60s. “No,” said Thompson, 48, “and in fact I feel cheated that the acid flashbacks that they promised us have not come.” Downer, man.

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