McQueen's legacy: fashion for the ages – and some very rich dogs

Designer leaves £50,000 to pets in will

Alexander McQueen's beloved pet dogs will be pampered for the rest of their lives after the fashion designer left £50,000 of his £16m fortune to them in his will.

McQueen, 40, hanged himself after taking a cocktail of cocaine, sleeping pills and tranquillisers in February of last year, the day before his mother Joyce's funeral.

An inquest heard that he killed himself after struggling with depression, the pressures of his work and his mother's death. In his will, McQueen directed his wealth to family, charities and help for the next generation of British designers.

It included a provision for £50,000 to be put into a trust for the upkeep of his dogs for the rest of their lives.

The inquest heard that police found a book at the designer's flat on which he had scribbled: "Look after my dogs, sorry, I love you. Lee." McQueen was known as Lee to friends and family.

McQueen bequeathed another £50,000 to each of his housekeepers, Marlene and Cesar Garcia, who were recognised for their "long and faithful service".

It was Mr Garcia who discovered McQueen's body hanging in a wardrobe in his Mayfair flat.

McQueen gave £100,000 to each of four charities: The Terrence Higgins Trust, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, the London Buddhist Centre and the Blue Cross sick animal centre in Burford, Oxfordshire. He bequeathed £50,000 to his godson and each of his nieces and nephews, and £250,000 to each of his three sisters and two brothers.

The designer left the remainder of his estate in a trust for his Sarabande charity, which shares a name with his spring/summer 2007 collection, famous for including a dress adorned with fresh flowers.

He asked the charity to consider using this money to fund bursaries or grants for students at Central St Martin's College of Art and Design, in London, where he studied fashion.

The East End-born McQueen was the son of a taxi driver and left school at 16. He quickly rose through the fashion-industry ranks to become one of the world's leading designers.

The fashion house that bears his name remains hugely influential. The Duchess of Cambridge's intricately decorated wedding dress, designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, received rave reviews on her big day in April and is currently on display at Buckingham Palace.

Kim Hamilton, chief executive of the Blue Cross, welcomed the bequest. She said: "The Blue Cross relies on donations to help animals in need so we are thrilled to have been chosen to receive such a generous legacy.

"It is a touching tribute to his obvious love for his dogs and his legacy will allow us to help many thousands more sick and homeless animals across the UK."