WAH Nails new flagship in Soho seems to have packed in all the digital stuff that often appears as nice-to-haves on many retail briefs these days. Starting life as a Fanzine in 2006 it’s grown significantly (with a big help from social media) and was instrumental in the nail art trend a few years ago.

Merging manicures, pedicures, discovery-based retail and cutting-edge tech the store exudes an urban club feel designed to appeal to its strong youth following. The ground floor is designated for playing with the brand’s nail polishes, files and art pens, along with similar items from female-founded independent labels chosen by the WAH team.

There are also virtual try-on stations where visitors can test nail polishes via a Samsung VR headset – reviewing designs pre-chosen from a gesture-controlled virtual menu and digitally overlaid onto their hands. They can then customise colours and shapes (while still wearing the headset) before buying online (on nearby touch screens) to recreate the design at home, or using the on-site nail printer. In addition to all this high-end tech they’ve thought about the little things to make the experience even better including seats big enough to keep your handbag next to you and phone chargers.

And finally a cocktail bar reinforces the retail/leisure crossover and they’re big on party bookings. This is a real step up from their first local Dalston store and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more to come.

Steven Kainth