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Chachino: The local label breaking fashion barriers

Laura Peppas

Around the time she graduated from fashion design, Monika Cerda-Cid was told she would “never make it” in the fashion industry.

Fast forward a few years and the Canberra resident has just wrapped up her first haute couture fashion show for her label, Chachino, which she launched just six months ago.

“The experience was overwhelming, we never thought the community spirit would pull together like this in support of our label,” Monika says.

“We are so grateful to Canberra and the support we received by locals and a number of very talented artists in the industry.”

La Realisation was a collaboration with Canberra photographer Lori Cicchini (who provided the creative direction for the show), Monika’s sister and Chachino partner Lorena Di Zillo, Jess Muir of Millela Couture, Kathryn Ilijoski of 121 hair, Jacqui Scott of JS Makeup, Mac Ayamiseba of Mac Mookie Entertainment and about 40 other creatives. Held at the Albert Hall last month, the event showcased 11 of Monika’s designs in red carpet and bridal wear.

Photo by Lori Ca

Chachino. Photo by Lori Cicchini.

With masked models, cages and snakes draped across shoulders, La Realisation was praised for its “dark and dramatic” atmosphere, yet many people aren’t aware of the emotional story behind the show.

“My husband and I were thrown a curve ball and dealing with infertility has been very surreal. I wanted to find a way to create and that is when Chachino and our first show, La Realisation came to life,” Monika says.

La Realisation tells my story about breaking free into the industry and realising that you can do anything that you put my mind to, even when faced with a curveball or told that you may never make it. I didn’t want to sit in the passenger seat at a time when I felt most vulnerable. I wanted to get behind the driver’s seat… so I did with faith, belief and my vision.”

To prepare for the show, Monika sacrificed “hours upon hours” outside of her full-time public service job.

“All up it was about three months of work,” she says.

“It took a long time behind the scenes, with a lot of people, to make it all happen.”


Chachino. Photo by Lori Cicchini.

Monika, who studied at Sydney’s FBI Fashion College, says she always wanted to pursue fashion.

“Even from a very young age I used to dress up that same Barbie doll with tissue, toilet or newspaper and design her outfits,” she says.

“I wanted to open Chachino’s door with bridal and red carpet haute couture designs because I’ve always loved glamorous, elegant and effortless looks that have great impact, and that’s what I would describe my style as. I am inspired by McQueen and I love the way he made his creations fly.”

Monika says she will be showcasing her bridal designs in Sydney at Australian Bridal Fashion Week later this year.


Chachino. Photo by Lori Cicchini.

“I’m doing the bridal showcase in June and I am designing for a number of local brides and their bridal parties as we speak, so I am very excited about that” she says.

“Since the December show, we have been asked if we will be showcasing another runway. We are passionate about giving back to our home town, so we will likely be doing it all over again later this year.”

For more on Chachino, see or follow Chachino on Instagram at #chachino_official

Missed La Realisation? Watch the highlights, brought to you by HerCanberra, here:


Laura Peppas

Laura Peppas is HerCanberra's senior journalist and communications manager and is the Editor of Unveiled, HerCanberra's wedding magazine. She is enjoying uncovering all that Canberra has to offer, meeting some intriguing locals and working with a pretty awesome bunch of women. Laura has lived in Canberra for most of her life and when she's not writing fervently she enjoys pursuing her passion for travel, reading, online shopping and chai tea. More about the Author

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