Slain swimwear designer remembered as 'light personified'
December 10th, 2010
08:42 PM ET

Slain swimwear designer remembered as 'light personified'

Sylvie Cachay appeared to have it all: fame as a swimwear designer, an apartment in New York's West Village and membership at the Soho House, a members-only club and hotel in the Meatpacking District.

But it all ended Thursday morning when the 33-year-old's body was found in a bathtub in a room at the Soho House. Police have arrested Nick Brooks, a man described as her boyfriend and ex-boyfriend in various news accounts, in connection with her death. He is the son of Oscar-winning composer Joseph Brooks.

Cachay's chic line of swimwear catapulted her to fame in the fashion world and helped her secure a spot in elite social circles, but her friends remembered her Friday for her "magnetic energy, sincere kindness and emotional generosity."

"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," her friends said in a statement through her publicist.

It was Cachay's keen eye for design that brought her prominence as the designer of her own swimwear collection, Syla, the culmination of her life's work.

As a child, the Peruvian-born Cachay split her time between McLean, Virginia, and Peru, according to a biography on her clothing  line's website. Inspired by her mother's work as an artist and a love for the beach, she began collecting bikinis, which eventually grew into a desire to create.

After high school, she went to Parsons Paris School of Art and Design to study art and fashion. She got her MFA from Marymount University in Virginia before moving to New York to pursue her career.

She got her start as a design intern with Marc Jacobs before moving to Tommy Hilfiger, where she ascended the ranks from assistant designer to head designer for women's sportswear.

In 2002, she moved to Victoria's Secret to head its swimwear team. She noticed a need for "high-end, sophisticated swimwear with simple lines and distinctive patterns."

Ultimately, she developed her own luxury swimwear collection, Syla, a combination of her name and the name of a friend. It also pays tribute to her mother, Sylvia, and the influence of the seas, according to her website.

"Syla is a swimwear collection for women who are comfortable in their own skin and don't feel the need to follow the latest trends," Cachay said on the website. "I wanted to create a collection that was unique with sophisticated colors, striking prints and an incredible fit."

The collection debuted in 2006 to rave reviews at a Miami swimwear show and she began to expand her line to resort wear.

By 2008, the economy had taken its toll on the business, publicist Kate Godici said, and it closed its doors. Some of her designs can still be purchased online.

A statement says Cachay went on to work for other designers, but when asked which ones, Godici replied "unsure" in an e-mail.

News reports since Cachay's death have hinted at personal struggles since 2008, among them a divorce, but Godici did not respond to requests for further comment.

Since Thursday, fans, fellow designers and industry insiders have gone online to mourn their loss.

"OMG! So sad to hear about this!" designer Kerry Cushman tweeted on Friday. "what a tragedy!!! R.I.P. Sylvie Cachay"

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Filed under: Crime • New York
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. ***dude***

    75 percent? With this kind of thoughtful analysis I believe your absolutely correct. (Not)

    Wow, maybe on a good day it might reach 76 percent

    December 11, 2010 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. shellski

    Here's another one of his comments – he's nuts:
    Jim Brieske

    It's a genetic defect. They always burn stuff when they get upset. Doesn't matter where on the planet, they burn. They are like cavemen.
    Actually months ago, the Haitian government should have been going around shooting any male who refuses to work cleaning up the cities. That's what I would have done.

    December 11, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jim Smith

    Why does CNN allow comments on an article like this?

    December 11, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jim Brieske

    Fight the Taliban. You are an idiot or a liar. The fact is immediate (one hour after death penalty given) televised public executions reduce the number of future murders by at least 75 percent! CURRENTLY allowing a deathrow inmate to sit in prison here for 20 years does not reduce the number of murders. In fact, they are increasing. That's the problem moron!
    You dumb fuker!! We need to publicly execute death penalty receivers one hour after sentencing. So these selfish murdering pieces of garbage will think twice before murdering someone because they know what awaits them if they do. Instant Public Execution. Not 20 years of watching television.
    Do not ever address what I write again.

    December 11, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jim Brieske

    What's it gonna take? What person in the USA is worthy enough of being murdered to change the law to instant public televised executions of penalty receivers one hour after sentencing? Who?
    The poor guy from Conneticut (or was it Vermont?) lost his wife and two daughters. Stood there and selfishly said, the death penalty won't bring them back. What he should have said (for other future victims), the two murderers should be executed publicly one hour after sentencing.
    Who needs to be murdered to change this stupidity and cowardice of you non God believing fuks? Afterall you cowardly fear a mistake then one innocent man will be executed. Act as if God won't fix it!!!!!
    Someone give me a name.
    What unworthy people of change get murdered next week or this weekend?

    December 11, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jim Brieske

    Chauncey, Boney, Ray, dude and Jan. Go fuk yourselves. Cowards and idiots. I'm twice as intelligent than all of you. You low I.Qd liberal pieces of garbage.
    Televised public execution one hour after the death sentence is given.
    Anyone who disagrees is an accomplice to each murder that occurs.

    December 12, 2010 at 4:30 am | Report abuse |
    • eugene

      Jim that white's man anger will not do it.....fuk your views cracka, you are the reason America is going down the tubes...Thank god the earth purges itself of idiots like you. Your views are not welcomed, i can see a bunch of non-whites being executed for nothing, dna will not save innocent people...let the blood thirst go...

      December 27, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |