Second chances are hard to come by, but Kai Kühne is getting one thanks to Markus Hoefels, the same German venture capitalist whose investment helped Proenza Schouler get on its feet. Combine that good news with a feature in The New York Times this past weekend, and what do you get? A packed house.

Happily, the show's standout pieces—the highly constructed and sophisticated dresses—were up to the attention. Kühne's strength is tailoring, and his intricate seams and darts this Spring were inspired by, of all things, the humble leek. "I'm interested in the humanification of nature," the designer said. Some of the fabrics—like one featuring pleated chiffon "pebbles" used on a belt-tied coat—suggested the vegetal world, too. But nature, at least the tree-hugging kind, is not what rushes to mind when one thinks of Kühne's work, which more than one observer has described as "Germanic" (a reference to its spirit, not the designer's passport).

While there were a few awkward experiments, like the "antigravity" dresses of suspended tiers, the real distraction was the show's overly complex choreography. At any one moment three clonelike models were walking the runway, slowing the tempo. Also, casting the mannequins as automatons somewhat dehumanized the clothes, which—despite their precise geometry—were molded to the body in celebration of the natural female form.