Some epithelial cells are polarized along an axis orthogonal to their apical-basal axes. Recent studies in Drosophila lead to the view that three classes of signaling molecules govern the planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway. The first class, or module, functions across whole tissues, providing directional information to individual cells. The second module, apparently shared by all planar polarized tissues, and related to the canonical Wnt signaling pathway, interprets the directional signal to produce subcellular asymmetries. The third modules are tissue specific, acting to translate subcellular asymmetry into the appropriate morphological manifestations in the different cell types.