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Leading article: Mourning dress

London Fashion Week will open next week, but it will do so with a hole in its heart, after yesterday's news of the death of the British designer, Alexander McQueen.

When McQueen joined Givenchy in 1996, the French press dubbed him "the hooligan of English fashion". But, by most accounts, he was charming and down-to-earth – at least by the prevailing standards of the high-strung world of international haute couture.

McQueen was also rather different from many other contemporary fashion designers in that he possessed formidable technical know-how. His experience as a 16-year-old apprentice on Savile Row, making suits for Prince Charles and Mikhail Gorbachev, was the basis on which he built his successful career.

In the end, those brilliant and unmistakable designs will be his real legacy. The fashion world has lost one of its brightest stars; and British design one of its finest talents.