VALENTINO’S CUSTOM DESIGN: Valentino is the latest designer to hop on the made-to-order bandwagon. The fashion house’s newest accessory is a crocodile hobo bag with suede fringes in bitter chocolate brown that features a matte-gold metal handle shaped as a snake and encrusted with jade and turquoise cabochons.

Clients’ initials are embroidered on the inside pocket of the handmade bag, which rings in at $6,300, and can be ordered in the designer’s Milan, Rome, New York, Paris and Los Angeles boutiques for the next 20 days in time for Christmas delivery.

ROOM AT THE INN: The Costes brothers, who preside over some of Paris’ trendiest eateries, might get beat in the race to open a hip new hotel in the hot Marais district. Emerging hotelier Patrick Machefert plans to open the 50-room Villa Murano — complete with three swimming pools, a spa and restaurant — in fall 2003. The Costes have been hunting for months for a site in the Marais, but have yet to conclude a deal. Villa Murano, in the style of a Venetian palace, will be Machefert’s 25th hotel since starting his group in 1995.

ADDING WOMEN: Victoria Grantham, the British men’s wear designer known for her streamlined silhouettes, top-quality fabrics and eye for subtle details, is branching into women’s wear. During the upcoming men’s wear shows in Milan in January, Grantham, who is based in Milan and has designed Donna Karan’s men’s wear and worked with Marc Jacobs on Louis Vuitton, will show eight key looks for women that have masculine fabrics, sartorial details and body-skimming shapes.

"Times may not be the brightest," Grantham said, "but when the economy picks up again, I want to be ready."

SEX IN A NEW CITY: Kim Cattrall held a London auditorium full of not-so-sexually-repressed British women — and a few mesmerized men — in her thrall last week during a talk about her character Samantha in "Sex and the City." "You’d all secretly like to be Samantha Jones," she said with a sly smile, but then moved on to her love of England. The actress, who was born in Liverpool to an English mother, said she was a Shakespeare fan, and would like to see sex play a larger role in productions of the Bard’s work. Cattrall was the first speaker in a series of lectures to be given by Sargent Cancer Care for Children. At the end of the talk, one curious woman asked if Cattrall’s husband, Mark Levinson, was there. She replied: "No sadly he’s not — but that’s not to say I’m going home alone!" She was right. In the end, she left with her mother.

GENTLEMEN QUARRELING: The trunk show for Etro at Bergdorf Goodman on Thursday night turned into a bad boxing match when GQ Publisher Ron Galotti and Fashion Wire Daily editor Godfrey Deeny got into a fistfight in front of the guests. According to sources, Galotti confronted Deeny about FWD’s coverage of GQ (much of it based on a story that appeared first in WWD about Galotti complaining to Condé Nast higher ups about GQ’s editorial direction and its editor, Art Cooper — which both men denied). "They began pushing one another and then they were throwing punches," said a source.

Luckily, no one really got hurt.

"The funny thing was that neither of them could fight," said the source. "I mean, no one seemed able to land a punch."

The two were separated, at which point Galotti was asked to pose in a picture with Kean Etro. "His tux was all wrinkled. It was bizarre." Etro and Galotti, according to a source, also had a drink afterwards.

Reached by phone Friday, Deeny said the fight broke out after Galotti stepped on his foot and attempted to intimidate him. Deeny said he asked Galotti to remove his foot, which Galotti didn’t do. "I shoved him and he punched." Deeny characterized their tiff as "more like a scuffle" than a fight.

A GQ insider claimed it was Deeny who picked the fight and noted that Galotti has cordial relationships with many reporters who have wound up in professionally adversarial situations with him. Galotti could not be reached for comment Friday.

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