Recent experimental studies on concentrated surfactant systems are reviewed. Particular attention is focused on the transformation from planar lamellar sheets to multilamellar vesicles. It is discussed whether both of these states are thermodynamic stable, or if the MLV is an artifact of shear induced factors. Recent studies includes the dependence on shear, and dependence on salt and cosurfactants, and thereby related lamellar defects. The review include moreover the demonstration that polymeric amphiphiles dramatically enhance the quality of classical surfactants. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. Ah rights reserved.