Many types of cell show different aspects of polarization. Epithelial cells display a ubiquitous apical-basolateral polarity but often are also polarized in the plane of the epithelium - a feature referred to as 'planar cell polarity' (PCP). In Drosophila all adult epithelial cuticular structures are polarized within the plane, whereas in vertebrates examples of PCP include aspects of skin development, features of the inner ear epithelium, and the morphology and behavior of mesenchymal cells undergoing the morphogenetic movement called 'convergent extension'. Recent advances in the study of PCP establishment are beginning to unravel the molecular mechanisms that underlie this aspect of cell and tissue differentiation. Here I discuss new developments in our molecular understanding of PCP in Drosophila and compare them towhat is known about the regulation of convergent extension in vertebrates.