NEW YORK — Swimwear designer Sylvie Cachay, 33, was found dead in a bathtub Thursday morning at the members-only club Soho House in the Meatpacking District here.
Cachay’s boyfriend of about six months, Nicholas Brooks, was taken in by police for questioning Thursday, according to friends of the deceased. At press time, a New York City Police Department spokesman would say only that investigators were speaking with a person of interest.
The 24-year-old Brooks is the son of Academy Award-winning composer Joseph Brooks, who faced 82 counts of sexual assault last year. Accused of raping 11 women he lured to his apartment by promising them movie roles, the elder Brooks pleaded not guilty to sexual assault charges and is free on bail. Joseph Brooks’ next court date is Dec. 21.
Soho House staff discovered Cachay’s body around 3:30 a.m., after another guest phoned the front desk to report a leaking ceiling. The police spokesman declined to provide any specifics about the crime scene. But a friend of Cachay’s, who requested anonymity, said the designer was found in an overflowing bathtub wearing a sweater and underwear. There were said to be signs of “a little trauma around her neck,” she said.
Autopsy results are expected to be released Friday afternoon, according to a spokeswoman for the New York City Chief Medical Examiner.
“It wasn’t the healthiest of relationships. He seemed unstable,” the friend said. “And there was that age difference.”
Cachay allegedly checked into the Soho House due to a fire in her West Village apartment. A New York City Fire Department spokesman said there was no record of engines being sent to her West Village address. However, an NYPD spokesman said investigators were looking into the claim of a fire.
At the time of her death, Cachay worked in design for Anne Cole swimwear. From 2006 to 2008, she ran her own swimwear label, called Syla. After losing her financial backing from a Mexican investor as a result of the financial fallout of October 2008, she shuttered her business. But Cachay remained committed to starting it back up once she found another investor, said Kate Godici, owner of Punch PR, which represented Syla.
“She was at the top of her game when she lost her financing. Sylvie was trying to get back on her feet again,” she said. “She was on staff at Anne Cole, but her baby was Syla. She always planned to go back to that.”
Raised in Virginia and Peru, Cachay studied fashion and art in Paris via Parsons The New School for Design, and then returned to the States to further her design studies at Marymount University. After graduating with a BFA, she relocated to New York and started her career by interning at Marc Jacobs. She moved on to Tommy Hilfiger, where she worked in design for juniors’ and women’s sportswear. A Tommy Hilfiger spokeswoman could not confirm that as of Thursday.
In 2002, Cachay joined Victoria’s Secret to work on the brand’s upper-end swimwear. After four years, she exited to get Syla off the ground. The Syla Web site describes the prints-driven swimwear as “earthy glamour, hippy-couture.”
Cachay’s friends were still dealing with the shock of the news Thursday night. One, Alicia Bell, who designs the Bell label, said, “No words can describe how I feel right now. I am absolutely devastated and in utter disbelief. Sylvie was a very close friend of mine and I miss her terribly. She was full of life and love and talented beyond words.”
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)