Authorities found Savoia's body near Chelsea Piers' Pier 59, where his boat was docked, three days after he was reported missing, according to police sources and Savoia's friends.
Savoia, 55, who designed suits for celebrities including Robert De Niro, Ricky Martin and Mickey Rourke, had last been seen at Marquee, a Chelsea nightclub, just after 4 a.m. Thursday.
Sources said that Savoia had been drinking and that there was no initial indication of foul play in his death, but an investigation was ongoing on Monday.
A spokeswoman for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said that a cause of death could not be determined after an initial autopsy conducted Monday and would require further study.
"He came back here and slipped down the rampway which was all ice, and it was an accident pure and simple," said Felix Rodrigues, who called Savoia "my best friend for 30 years."
Standing near Slip 14, where Savoia's body was discovered, Rodrigues called his friend "a very talented man," but also a loose canon.
"Everyone who knew him — he was a crazy SOB. If I had to describe him, [he] is a red corvette going 150 miles down a highway with no driver.”
Savoia, who grew up in Hoboken, had lived in a yacht, which frequently appeared in photos on his Facebook page.
Fans and friends flocked to the page to memorialize the designer.
"We lost a piece of our life and our lifestyle," wrote Bob Myers. "Such a sad day."
Savoia was described as a "needle-wielding daredevil" in a 2011 interview with Fashion Week Daily, where he said he got his inspiration from 1940s-style fashion statements from his childhood, growing up in a Sicilian-American family.
"Basically, my father taught me how to dress, and Popop taught me how to tailor," he said in the profile. "I'm definitely the bad boy of fashion."