Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hello 2011 and London's historical Phoenix Cinema

Firstly, I would like to wish a happy and prosperous New Year 2011 for all of my readers and Blogger friends - even if this coming oh, a few weeks late. But, as they say, better late than never!

My blog turned one year old in December 2010 so I'd also like to take a moment to thank all of those who read and comment here. I wanted to do something special to acknowledge the fact but the anniversary passed unrecognized because December was a true rollercoaster ride, a real whirlwind for me, both in the extremely good and the extremely bad. I've spent the first few weeks of 2011 locked up inside, working on my university essays. But those are finally over and done with and I'm eager to actually go out and live a little again - and post a lot more on this blog, hopefully!

I have been reading a fascinating book on Finnish cinema architecture and the old cinema palaces of the early 20th century, titled Elohuvia (written by Outi Heiskanen, well worth a read if you understand Finnish!). Sadly most of the old cinemas of Finland have been demolished and the very few that still exist are largely used for other purposes. But it inspired me to look into London's old cinemas since quite a few still exist in here and are used for the purposes they were originally designed for.

Yesterday I paid a visit to the Phoenix Cinema, the oldest purpose built cinema in the UK, to see The King's Speech with a friend. It is located in East Finchley. The cinema was built in 1910 and opened in 1912, during the silent era. It was called the Picturedome back then and seated 428 people. In 1929 the cinema, then known as the Coliseum, was the first in the area to show talkies (sound films). In 1937, the building was redesigned and rebuilt in a more art deco style and reopened as the Rex in 1938. It was named The Phoenix in 1975 to act as a showcase for the European ‘art house’ and world cinema films.

Sadly the exterior of the building was remodeled in the 1930s to give the façade a more sleek and modernist touch. The interior ceiling, however, is the original ceiling from 1910 and the Deco details, including the gorgeous gold panels, are from 1938. The Phoenix has appeared in contemporary pop culture quite a bit, including in the films Interview with the Vampire, The End of the Affair and Nine.

It was an absolutely wonderful experience to visit this historical piece of cinema history. It is a very special place to watch a film. The interior, especially, is probably the most beautiful interior of a cinema I have ever seen. Viewing a film in the cinema is always a special experience for me - and seeing one in such extraordinary and historical surroundings made it all the more special for me.

I wore the Maureen in green check by Nicole Katherine Designs, which is up for grabs over at Pin-Up Parade. I really love the print and the pattern of the dress but, as you can read on the Pin-Up Parade site, unfortunately this cute little number comes with quite a bit of faulties. The lovely Rhia altered it for me to bring it into a presentable condition, as seen here. I paired the dress with a 1940s needlepoint handbag by Christine, a dear favorite of mine, a 1940s jade necklace with a little circus elephant, 100 denier wool stockings and vintage inspired shoes. I love that the weather is so nice and pleasant that you can actually go out wearing nice heels! The weather conditions that we're currently experiencing in London have come as an absolute shock to me after having lived in Finland and Scotland my whole life. Sunshine and +13c in January = INSANE to me!

I recently acquired Lip Ink in Energy Red after Amanda Lee mentioned it a couple of times. I have been looking for the perfect lip stain for a long time and I believe I've now found it! I will be writing a proper review of the product after I've given it a few more goes. However, having worn it a couple of times now, I have to say that I am very, very happy with my purchase so far.

The Picturedrome with the original exterior

The Rex in the 1960s

Be sure to visit the Phoenix Cinema website for detailed information on the building's fascinating history - and be sure to check it out in person whenever you're in the area!


  1. Ooh! On ollu ikävä! :D
    Mä oon katellu sitä Elohuvia kirjaa haikeena, kai se on pakko hankkia!

  2. Fiona - Samoin! <3 Odoteltiin sua innolla Fintagen kokouksessa jouluun lopulla, mutta et vissiin päässytkään paikalle. :( Ostin kirjan 5€ Prisman ale-korista, ei paha ollenkaan!

  3. that theatre looks fantastic! LOVE your dress!!

  4. you look great in that Maureen ensemble, really pretty!

  5. This theatre looks so amazing!

  6. It's a shame that I'm so far away, LOL. But I share your love of movies, especially if classic films. Love, love your dress!

  7. BaronessVonVintage - Thank you! And the cinema is just so gorgeous, isn't it. Such a gem for us film history buffs. :)

    Miss Matilda - Thank you! It is a beautiful dress. I would so snag another one but all the faulties are very annoying.

    Mycah - Yes! It is amazing. I'll show it to you next time you come over. :)

    Rosy - Aww, thank you! Always nice to meet a fellow classic film buff. :) If you're ever in the area, you should definitely check out this gem.

  8. Hello Riikka,
    I don't know you, but I found your blog and have been following it. I also love classic movies and have a burgeoning interest in vintage styles. Plus, I love London (my husband is English). Thanks for your posts. You look fab in the green dress! :-)
    If you have a taste for cute and strange fun, try my blog: http://pinkotterparty.blogspot.com/

  9. You look so amazing!!! And that's my warm sunday afternoon sleep deprived comment. ;]
    -Andi x

  10. Chiyo-ni - Many thanks for the lovely comment and for stopping by. I shall definitely check out your blog. :)

    Andi B. Goode - Heee, thank you, darling! You're the best!

  11. I came over on a mention from Andi B. Goode's blog, you look adorable in that checkered dress! Loving it!

  12. Tasha - Thank you for stopping by and for the sweet comment. :)