Designer found dead in hotel bathtub

Sylvie Cachay (

December 9, 2010 8:22:38 PM PST
Police questioned the son of an Academy Award-winning songwriter after a designer was found dead in an overflowing bathtub in his hotel room.

The partially clothed 33-year-old woman was found in a Soho House room after police received a 911 call from the hotel at 3:00 a.m.

Water was discovered leaking from a ceiling and hotel staff went to the floor above to investigate. They found the woman, dressed in a sweater and underwear, submerged in the tub.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators said the victim was Sylvie Cachay, a former Victoria's Secret designer who lives in Lower Manhattan. She was a member of the SoHo House with full privileges (click to see photo).

Detectives initially believed she overdosed. There were no obvious signs of trauma to her body and prescription drug pill bottles were found in the room. There were still drugs in the bottles. Additionally, the room was not in disarray.

Upon further inspection of her body, investigators said they found:

-- Bruising around her neck, described as "redness around the collarbone." No conclusion can currently be drawn as to what caused the redness.

Since detectives cannot tell when the injuries occurred, they are waiting for the Medical Examiner's autopsy, which is underway and should be completed by the end of the day.

According to her website, Cachay left Victoria's Secret in January 2006 to launch her own line of bikinis. She grew up in both Virginia and Peru, and exposure to both cultures inspired her to design her collection of swimwear.

Cachay also worked for Tommy Hilfiger and interned for Marc Jacobs early in her career.

Authorities said she was staying inside a room apparently being paid for by 24-year-old Nicholas Brooks, the son of composer Joseph Brooks.

Nicholas Brooks checked in with her Wednesday. He was not in the room at the time the body was found. He was being interviewed by detectives at the 6th Precinct, although no charges were immediately expected.

His father composed the award-winning song, "You Light Up My Life." Brooks, 72, has been accused of raping 11 women he lured to his apartment with the promise of a starring role in a movie. He has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault charges and is free on bail. His next court date is Dec. 21.

He won the Oscar for Best Original Song for the 1977 ballad "You Light Up My Life." He also wrote and directed the movie "You Light Up My Life," about a comedian who has a one-night stand with a director.

The Soho House is located on Manhattan's West side in a neighborhood frequented by stars and the city's elite, near chic restaurants like Spice Market and Pastis. Its website says it has 24 rooms that offer guests "a unique combination of luxury and style." It says card-carrying members have to be verified at the front desk. The building has a screening room, library, heated rooftop pool and fine dining.

Sylvie's family and friends released a statement Thursday night saying: "Sylvie Cachay was one of those rare individuals who truly sparkled when she spoke. Her unparalleled style, creativity and talent as a designer made her the darling of the press when she launched her Syla swimwear collection and she never lost sight of her dream. But it was her magnetic energy, sincere kindness and emotional generosity with friends and family that she will be best remembered for. She never failed to tell you she loved you. And we love her. She was optimism and light personified and the world has lost a beautiful soul. She will be deeply and painfully missed, yet celebrated, honored and never forgotten."