Unforgettable icons of male elegance: Aleksander Żabczyński
What is inspiration really?! A provocative question that is supposed to trigger a brainstorm as almost everyone modelled themselves or are still modelling themselves on figures that were determining the widely understood class/style. Our history is in fact a real reservoir of inspirations that we can make the most of.
The pre-war Poland, and consequently the glitz and elegance, is a real male Mecca for those who treat a perfect look as a finishing touch, highlighting their social status. An additional element was the immaculate propriety – you will read more about it in the upcoming blog posts.
Aleksader Żabczyński is a man written with a capital M who proved that masculinity is a multidimensional notion with his life accomplishments and who proved himself as the proverbial statesman on more than one occasion.
Aleksander Żabczyski was born on 24 July 1900 in Warsaw and died on 31 May 1958 also in Warsaw. When he was a child, he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, Aleksander Daniel Żabczyński, and become a commissioned officer. Once he passed his high school final exam, he started education at the Officer Cadet School in Poznań, which he finished with a very good result, and in 1921, as a second lieutenant of the high-angle artillery, he moved to the reserve.
Subsequently, at the suggestion of his family, he started law studies at the University of Warsaw, which he later discontinued. He was considering becoming an architect, painted, and was interested in mathematics. Soon, he however discovered a new passion – theatre and acting.
He had his debut in 1922 on the stage of Reduta Theatre in Leon Schiller’s Christmas carol. Since 1924, he was connected with Wojciech Bogusławki Theatre. He played, among others, Florizel in the Winter’s Tale or Żurosław in Skalmierzanki by a Polish playwright. In 1927, he moved to Warsaw. He played in theatres in Lviv and Łódź. In 1929, he participated in cultural events that were part of the 1st Polish General Exhibition in Poznań. He came back for good to the capital in 1930 and engaged in activity at Morskie Oko.
When it comes to cinema, Aleksander started from a silent movie, and came into contact with the talkies in Joinville-le-Pont. He starred in such movies as: Manewry Miłosne [Love Schemes], Ada!, To nie wypada! [Ada! That’s Inappropriate!], Jadzia [Jadzia], Pani Minister Tańczy [Miss Minister is Dancing], or Zapomniama Melodia [The Forgotten Melody].
In August 1939, Aleksander Żabczyński was mobilised. He took part in the September Campaign and, afterwards, he managed to get to Romania. He was interned in a camp in Hungary, but he was able to escape to France. In 1947, he returned to Poland. Unfortunately, there was no place for pre-war actors in the post-war Poland. He most likely enjoyed some movie offers, but refused to participate in any of them. Initially, he was featured at Teatr Mały (in 1947), then, at Teatr Klasyczny (1948-1949), and then, until his death, at Teatr Polski.