Page last updated at 14:00 GMT, Friday, 19 February 2010

London Fashion Week tribute to Alexander McQueen

Sarah Brown speaking at London Fashion Week
Sarah Brown spoke at the opening event in central London

Prime minister's wife Sarah Brown has paid tribute to the late designer Alexander McQueen as she opened London Fashion Week.

Mrs Brown said the week-long event would be a "reflective time with sadness at the passing" of McQueen.

He hanged himself at his London home on 11 February days after his mother died.

Designers including Vivienne Westwood, Burberry and Dublin-born Paul Costelloe will unveil their autumn and winter collections at the event in London.

Launching the couture extravaganza at Somerset House, British Fashion Council chairman Harold Tillman invited attendees to hold a minute's silence to remember "this great talent".

He said: "His impact on London and this international fashion industry has been extraordinary. And he will be sorely missed.

"I know that we will all remember his incredible achievements and what he did for fashion here in London."

He [Alexander McQueen]has inspired so many to follow and establish their own collection and has influenced many designers
Harold Tillman
British Fashion Council chairman

Praising McQueen's talent, he added: "He proved that this industry and this city is one of opportunity.

"He left school with one O-Level and, with a good mix of determination, hard work and genius. He became and will remain one of London's leading lights.

"He has inspired so many to follow and establish their own collection and has influenced many designers."

A wall of condolence messages for McQueen has been set up inside the fashion tent in the courtyard of Somerset House.

The messages will be placed in a book at the end of the week and presented to McQueen's family.

There will also be a tribute at Victoria House, where 40 iPods, each holding images from McQueen collections, will be embedded in the wall.

This year for the first time, people can watch the shows as they happen on the British Fashion Council website.

On Thursday, McQueen's parent company PPR announced the McQueen label will continue, despite his death.

The 40-year-old was found dead at his London home on the eve of the funeral of his mother, Joyce. He was named British Designer of the Year four times after 1996.

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