Italian fashion giants Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have said their "friend" Victoria Beckham may well be a designer but they list her alongside high street names.

They said she came to the trade "after many, many, many different things".

The designer duo - known as Dolce & Gabbana - were in London to celebrate The Glamour Of Italian Fashion 1945-2014 at the Victoria and Albert Museum and were joined by stars including Rita Ora, Naomi Campbell, Livia Firth, and Elizabeth Hurley.

When asked what they thought of new designers such as former Spice Girl Beckham, Gabbana said: "She's a friend. She make a good job but... for us, she don't make the same way like a fashion designer.

"She become after many, many, many different things. She's a designer but..."

When asked if he admired her designs, he said: "She's a fashion designer but it's another... it's different."

He added: "John Galliano is a designer... Alexander McQueen."

Dolce described them as "professional" designers, adding: "Victoria Beckham, Zara, H&M...there's a lot."

Dolce said Italian fashion and British fashion are "completely different", and described the latter as "more cool, more trendy".

Gabbana added: "Vivienne Westwood is one of the most important fashion designers in the world."

Also in attendance was Alexandra Shulman, editor of Vogue UK, who said British fashion is known for being "very creative, very new", while Italian fashion is known for the big fashion houses such as Valentino and Dolce & Gabbana.

When asked about her thoughts on how Beckham compares to the big names in fashion, she said: "Victoria's growing... Valentino has been working since 1949 or something, so Victoria's got a way to go."

She added: "I think Victoria's a great designer and she's definitely got the determination to do it."

Franca Sozzani, editor of Vogue Italy, defended her American counterpart Anna Wintour's decision to put Kim Kardashian and Kanye West on the front cover of US Vogue.

"I think it's good. It's the moment. Times have changed," she said. "It's part of our time."

Asked if she thought it lowered the tone of the fashion bible, Sozzani said: "No. I don't think so.

"A lot of people like her. Young people do like her, so what's wrong?

"It's a new time. It's time to change."

A small group of demonstrators gathered in front of the V&A as the stars made their way up the red-carpeted steps.

The demonstrators were holding placards about Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi, who was expected to attend the event.

One poster said: "Illegitimate Italian prime minister - who entitles this man to represent Italy?

"Number of votes = 0"

Another said: "Not allowed to speak in the name of Italian people."

Other stars who turned out to celebrate Italian fashion included Eva Herzigova, Tom Ford and David Gandy.

The Glamour Of Italian Fashion 1945-2014 exhibition will run at the V&A in South Kensington from April 5-July 27.