FIFTH AVENUE SHOWDOWN: Saks Fifth Avenue and Henri Bendel are going head-to-head in a war to unearth fashion’s next big designer. Saks announced in an advertisement in WWD on Thursday that it will hold "Open See Days" for women’s apparel and accessories designers around the country, beginning Wednesday in New York, which ruffled the feathers of the folks over at Bendel’s, considering the store’s long-standing tradition of holding similarly titled events that helped give an early start to a lot of today’s big designers, like Anna Sui.

"Geraldine Stutz [Bendel’s former president] originated that term back in the Seventies," volleyed Ed Burstell, Bendel’s vice president and general manager, noting the store’s next open call will be held in Los Angeles in August. "Everyone’s entitled to try to find a new designer, but this is done exactly the same as ours, right down to the name. They could have at least called it something else."

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