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Sylvie Cachay Was a Rising Fashion Star

By Heather Grossmann | December 9, 2010 5:03pm | Updated on December 10, 2010 12:42pm

By DNAinfo Staff

MEATPACKING DISTRICT — A beautiful young designer whose swimsuits were worn by celebrities like Lindsay Lohan was found dead with red marks on her neck in an overflowing bathtub at the SoHo House Thursday morning.

Sylvie Cachay, 33, was found in the room of 24-year-old Nicholas Brooks, police said. Brooks is the son of infamous songwriter Joseph Brooks, who was indicted last year on several counts of sexually assaulting young women.

Cachay had dated Brooks, according to police sources. He was being questioned at the Greenwich Village precinct late into the night Thursday.

The stunning designer, who once interned for Marc Jacobs, grew up in the wealthy D.C. suburb McLean, Va. She had dual-citizenship in the U.S. and Peru and split her time between Virginia and South America, according to her website.

Her love for design grew out of the time she spent as a young girl in her mother's art studio, and her decision to pursue swimwear stemmed from her appreciation of the "beach lifestyle," her website reported.

Cachay went to a college prep school and then attended Parsons in Paris where she studied fashion and art, online research showed. After she moved back to the U.S., she attended Marymount University in Virginia.

A friend from Marymount described her as "the most determined out of our whole class."

"She was a bright student, incredibly talented and graduated at the top of the program," Michael Magnan, who studied fashion with her between 1995 and 1999, wrote in an e-mail to DNAinfo. "I never saw her without a smile on her face...always bright and enthusiastic about life."

After working for Marc Jacobs and Tommy Hilfiger, Cachay was discovered by Victoria's Secret in 2002 and the megabrand recruited her to head up their swimwear line, which she did until 2006, when she started her own line, according to her website.

The designer's work has been featured in magazines including Vogue, Elle and People.

Sources said Cachay's body was discovered wearing only a sweater and underwear, partially submerged in a bathtub in a SoHo House room. She had red marks around her neck when she was found, sources said.

Police sources said drugs may have led to her death. Her hair was singed when police found her, sources said, and there was a prescription pill bottle half full found near the bathtub.

People that knew Cachay from her West Village neighborhood were very upset to hear of her death.

Karey Smith, 29, a fashion designer and party host at the Hudson Street bar Employees Only, said that Cachay came into the lounge once or twice a month.

"She was fun...A lovely, well mannered, beautiful girl. A local girl," Smith said.

The bartender at Employees Only agreed, calling her "friendly and cute."

"I didn't know her well, but she seemed really sweet," said her upstairs neighbor, Jason Kuhlman, 30. "It's really sad."

Alissa Ambrose contributed reporting.