While sports fans were glued to their televisions the weekend of Wimbledon, U.K. fashionistas found a reprieve in the region’s first Nail Art Festival. Hosted by shopping center Exchange Ilford, the free two-day event celebrated nail art via curated displays, demos, speaker sessions, and an interactive contest.

“We hold various events throughout the year at Exchange Ilford and we were looking to add a beauty event that would appeal to women of all ages. Nail art has become the fashion and beauty trend of 2013 and, with the huge array of possible designs, it’s something that everyone can enjoy,” says Ellen Lewis, the center’s marketing director. Highlights included nail designs created by Marian Newman for Lady Gaga on public display for the first time (alongside other commissioned nail art exhibits), nail stylists revealing the holiday trends, and free nail art manicures. Plus, “The Sketchbook” drew entries from attendees who were invited to submit their dream nail designs, with the winning look being created by leading nail artist Sophie Harris-Greenslade from The Illustrated Nail. Other nail artists tapped for the festival included Sam Biddle, Rebecca Orme, Neringa of Sophy Robson Nails, and nail techs from salons Nailgirls London, WAH Nails, and Defined Beauty.

More than 5,000 visitors stopped by the celebration, and plans are already in the works to make it bigger and better next year. Visit www.exchangeilford.com for updates.

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